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University of Nevada, Las Vegas; Center for Academic Enrichment and Outreach


Viewers’ interpretations of characters with anxious attitudes in romantic relationships can affect their opinions on what constitutes appropriate relationship behavior. This paper analyzes the impact of media on people through a literature review and offers an explanation of different portrayals of romantic anxiety in film: the language used to describe characters and characters’ ends. The films studied - Sunset Boulevard, Sid and Nancy, Hard Core Logo, Burnt Money, and The Hustler - all showed a pattern where a character with romantic anxiety was mistreated by the storyline or other characters, and most of these characters meet their end through suicide or murder. The impact of these types of negative portrayals have not yet been explored, but similar studies find that viewers watch films to learn the norms of their community (Levy, 1990), and negative portrayals of romantic anxiety could lead to negative effects for anxious individuals. Further studies using questionnaires and focus groups are recommended in order to better understand the impact of these messages, viewer awareness, and sources of exposure.


Anxiety; Film criticism; Love--Psychological aspects; Motion pictures; Popular culture


Film and Media Studies